March Madness all comes down to one game for the Big East regular season championship. On March 8, Louisville plays the Georgetown Hoyas. Even though the Hoyas are 8-2 in their last 10, it’s the Cardinals that really seem to be making their way into March Madness. Louisville hasn’t lost since a 69-67 game at Connecticut, thanks to their team-first attitude and a strong coach, Rick Pitino.

The Cardinals will have to beat Georgetown at the Verizon Center in D.C. which no other team has done this year. With some problems at the beginning of the season, including injuries and losses, many people were pessimistic about the Cardinals. However, they are 16-11-1 against the spread overall and 8-1-1 ATS this year.

Most of their success is because of Padgett’s inspired play. Padgett broke his knee earlier in the season and despite this injury, he returned after missing only 6 weeks. A lesser player would have missed a lot more than that with a broken knee cap. The Cardinals know that it’s Padgett’s leadership that made the difference in turning things around this season.

Padgett is averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2 assists on 22.7 minutes per game. He has also adopted Pitino’s team approach which has helped the Cardinals position themselves to win the Big East Championship. They were in last place in the conference at the beginning of the year and now they’re tied for first which isn’t usually how a team makes it to the championship.

The Hoyas’ Roy Hibbert might be giving the Cardinals a run for their money. Between his size and the guidance from coach John Thompson’s, he has redefined the Hoyas’ defensive status. Hibbert averages 2.3 blocks per game. His team is the best in the nation in defensive field goal percentage and 4th in points allowed. Hibbert takes pride in defense and helping his teammates out by coming from the weak side and blocking shots. Hibbert has also improved his all around play and leads the Hoyas in both points and rebounds.

Thompson feels Hibbert has matured both professionally and personally this year. However, the Hoyas haven’t been much of a bet so far, with just 11-14 ATS and 4-8 at home. Georgetown had two razor wire wins, one over Villanova and one over Marquette that could have gone the other way and sunk them in the standings.

Jonathan Wallace hit 2 free throws with a tie score and 1/10 of a second on the clock giving the Hoyas a 55-53 victory against the Wildcats. Wallace was fouled beyond the arc with 2.8 seconds left in the game against the Golden Egals. He made all 3 free throws, sending the game into overtime, where the Hoyas got a two-point win.

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